The style guru and Head of Harrod's famous homeware department reveals how to design a functional scheme with serious flair
As Harrods Director of Home, Annalise has been at the legendary store for almost two decades, working her way up through the beauty department to head up the 135,000 sq ft design destination that is the homeware floor. Here, she explains how to combine elegance with personality to create a calm yet creative office space.
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP YOUR APPROACH TO STYLE?
My style is angled towards the elegant and classic, with contemporary twists thrown in for good measure. At home, I keep things neutral to create the most serene space I can. I introduce interest with materials such as velvet and marble, which really brings the scheme to life. I don’t over-accessorise, but stick to key pieces I know will make a statement.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT WHEN IT COMES TO OFFICE DESIGN?
You need to achieve the right balance between calm and creativity. My working life is extremely busy and while I need time spent in my office at Harrods to be productive, I also need it to act as a sanctuary.
TALK US THROUGH THE LOOK HERE:
I started with a neutral, monochrome scheme with lots of glass – which I love, as it introduces a spacious feel into smaller rooms – and my gorgeous Flexform chairs, which are very comfortable. I’m a big fan of fashion- and beauty-led accessories – I don’t think my Type 75 Anglepoise by Paul Smith will ever date.
The combination of colours works perfectly in tying together this scheme, which pairs the functional with the fabulous. This Anglepoise was one of the first things I chose for my office that added a little fun!
HOW ELSE CAN YOU BRING PERSONALITY INTO AN OFFICE SPACE?
Surround yourself with things you love. I have a bookshelf that’s not only full of design and beauty books – which all look gorgeous and add pops of colour – but also of accessories by my favourite designers such as Kelly Wearstler and lots of photos, including one of my Welsh Terrier Gwen. I also love home fragrance and I’m constantly changing the selection to suit my mood. Tom Dixon’s diffuser makes my desk look gorgeous and I adore Roja Dove and Cire Trudon’s scents.
YOUR SPACE IS FAIRLY MONOCHROMATIC WITH VIBRANT POPS, DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR WORKING WITH COLOUR?
I use functional pieces to accessorise. I’m a real believer in using artwork to add colour to a space. My husband bought me the Henderson Cisz painting, which uses a phenomenal colour palette.
I’m also addicted to Smythson stationery and have a planner in almost every colour, placed in different areas of the room. Every now and again, I switch to a new one, usually when I’m about a third of the way through, and place the colour I had been using somewhere else.
WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE ON LAYOUT?
Meetings with brands often take place here, so somewhere to be able to seat a few people is key. But I also need time to myself to reflect on ideas for the store and come up with concepts. I think zoning an office space for different functions works extremely well. At my desk I have everything I need to think creatively, while the table area works perfectly for meetings or brainstorming sessions with the buying team.
SO DO YOU THINK FURNITURE IS CRUCIAL?
A beautifully made desk or chair can set the mood of an office space. If you’re going to invest in just one or two high-end pieces, choose those that will make the most impact and that you can style the rest of your scheme around. Create something Scandi in an instant with a Vitra Eames Lounge chair, or embrace texture and soften the space with something you can sink into by Flexform. Alternatively, a truly beautiful piece of lighting by Lee Broom or Jonathan Adler or Michael Anastassiades, depending on your preferred style, will add a touch of something really different to any space and create a gorgeously lit atmosphere.
WHICH PRODUCTS OR DESIGNERS ARE YOUR GO-TOS?
We stock more than 600 brands across the Harrods Home and Furniture departments, so I have to say I’m spoilt for choice! I love classic pieces by big design brands such as Ligne Roset, mixed with a few pieces by up-and-coming designers. We’ve recently launched an exclusive lighting collection by Lyngard, a husband-and-wife-run ceramics brand, which is based in Stoke-on-Trent. I think it’s going to make a big impact on the design world.
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER FAVOURITE PLACES TO SHOP?
I try to keep it a secret, but my absolute favourite shop is The Old Cinema in Chiswick. It showcases furniture and homeware from most 20th-century periods and there are some real collectibles to be found, including the most beautiful, battered leather Chesterfield that’s now firmly installed in my husband’s office.